The joy of delivering a healthy baby can be overshadowed by depression. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that one out of seven women suffers perinatal depression, but fewer than 20% of them report it to their doctor. That’s all about to change with the announcement in January that the US Preventive Services Task Force is including screening for all pregnant and postpartum women in its recommendations for screening adults for depression.
The symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Feelings of extreme sadness or hopelessness
- Uncontrolled bouts of crying
- Exhaustion or lack of energy
- Feeling angry, irritable or moody for extended periods
- Inability to bond with the baby
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Social withdrawal
How often these women will be screened and the need for appropriate follow-up are up to the individual physician. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for postpartum depression when the mothers come in for their babies’ 1-month, 2-month and 4-month appointments.